Fatal Workplace Injuries
Probably the most stressful type of accident that can occur on a business premises is a fatal workplace accident.
When dealing with these accidents most commentators focus on the penalties given by the Courts, arising out of a successful prosecution or plea of guilty. However, in our experience, if a business is unfortunate enough to experience a workplace fatality, they will have to consider a number of different legal issues, some of which will be emotionally charged, and very stressful for the employees of the business. In dealing with each of these issues, a business will benefit greatly from engaging expert legal advice at an early stage.
Fatal Accident Issues
In our experience, the following is a non-exhaustive list of issues a business will face if a fatal accident occurs:
- Employer’s responsibilities pursuant to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
- Obligations to the deceased family.
- Insurance cover.
- Dealing with a potential An Garda Siochana investigation, and an Investigation by the Health & Safety Authority
- Company officers and employees rights during an interview by the Health & Safety Authority or An Garda Siochana.
- Dealing with the Coroners Court
- Dealing with a Criminal prosecution pursuant to Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, as amended or the Road Traffic Acts, as amended.
- Representation in the District court, and Circuit Criminal Court.
- Dealing with a Civil case issued pursuant to the Civil Liability Act, 1961, as amended.
More often than not the area which causes greatest concern and stress for Employers is the Coroners Court and Criminal Sanctions.
The Coroners’ core function is to investigate sudden and unexplained deaths so that a death certificate can be issued. This doesn’t happen in all cases, but a Coroner’s investigation is common place in fatal workplace accident. This investigation takes the form of a court case, wherein the Coroner requests certain witness to attend court and they can be cross examined by the deceased representative and An Garda Siochana. We would recommend all employers to take legal advice in respect of the Coroners Court.
These are usually take the form of a HSA investigation, followed by the issuing of one or more summons against the Employer, for breach of certain provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, as amended. The local State Solicitor, acting on behalf of the DPP will prosecute the case, which always commences in the District Court, but, upon service of the Book of Evidence is usually remitted to the Circuit Court for Trial.
What we do
Alastair Purdy and Co. Solicitors have represented a number of employers in fatal injury cases, advising them from two one, on their Insurance Cover, how to manage the proceedings, representing them during cautioned interviews, the Coroners Court, the District Court, and both Criminal and Civil Courts.
If your company has had the unfortunate experience of suffering the loss of an employee during the course of his employment, and requires legal advice, Alastair Purdy and Co. Solicitors are available to assist.
WE ARE A NATIONAL LAW FIRM, WITH SOLICITORS IN DUBLIN, GALWAY & LIMERICK
Get in touch with one of our solicitors today.